Turkey’s government and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan are experiencing difficult times following a slew of damning statements issued by Sedat Peker a high-level, organised criminal and once fervent supporter of the president and his regime, his grievances stemming from claims that he has been personally targeted in an operation to purge him.
Peker, a notorious gang leader in Turkey’s underworld, first fled to the Balkans, moving frequently before escaping to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); making revelations as he evaded Turkey’s attempts to silence him, he’s alleged how he has been involved and acted as a black hand of Erdogan’s regime, doing his dirty work in quelling dissidents and exposing the illegal actions committed by leading politicians such as the current Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
His public addresses have been issued as videos and released through social media platforms such as Youtube. In them he has cast shadows on Erdogan’s inner circle with accusations made against key political figures of them being involved in organised crime, corruption, drug-trafficking and the illegal seizure of assets from business people, and more: he has made allegations to Turkey’s role in the illegal cocaine trade with several Latin American countries.
Further tarnishing the government's image in many voters’ eyes, already suspicious and untrusting of the way in which the country’s economy has been managed and the manner in which the pandemic was handled and further casting doubt on the ruling party’s legitimacy to rule.
What distinguishes the latest revelations from the opposition parties’ criticism of the ruling AKP’s government is that Peker claims to be speaking as an insider and that he was an ’accomplice’ as he confesses to having committed crimes, allegedly at the behest of the AKP. He has deliberately acted to uncover the web of corruption amongst ruling politicians, media, judiciary and the business world.
He claims that in response to his revelations that he’s been subjected to assasination attempts in a bid to prevent him from disclosing any further actions of the AKP. Among Peker’s allegations that the Turkish government has supported jihadist group Al Nusra - an offshot of Al Qaeda - through the supply of arms under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid to Syria. He clearly poses a threat and has tarnished Turkey’s image internationally and perhaps could see Turkey being tried over these allegations in an International Criminal Court.
Peker, has so far released a total of nine videos in which he sheds light on a number of past political murders including the killing of Kutlu Adali, a Turkish Cypriot journalist who was murdered in 1996. Peker claims that his brother Atilla Peker formed part of the ’hit team’, allegedly created by former Interior Minister Memet Agar - himself a notorious political figure in the 1990s and said to have played a role in the murky killings of the nation’s Kurdish population. The team were tasked with carrying out the execution in Cyprus but failed to do so, and instead, the role was passed to another cell in a criminal gang to carry out the execution. Adali, in his writings for the Yeni Duzen newspaper, defended a one-state solution in Cyprus and rejected Turkey turning the Turkish Cypriot part of the island into a hotbed for criminal acts by Turkey’s underworld.
In one video, Peker stated that a marina located in the country’s popular tourist hotspot of Bodrum was used in drug trafficking operations between Columbia and Venezuela, and that it was agreed and consented by the Turkish government. Agar was at that time, he claims, on the board of managers at the marina. He furthers with accusations against Agar that he illegally took possession of the marina by threatening the Azerbaijani businessman
In the wake of the revelations, Agar has since resigned from the marina’s board of management.
Peker has alleged that Mehmet Agar’s son, Tolga Agar, who is also an AKP law-maker, raped Yeldana Kaharman, a journalist - later found dead a mere day after having filed a complaint with the gendarmerie against Tolga Agar over the allegation.
Peker has called repeatedly for Turkish prosecutors to investigate and to launch legal proceedings against the figures following the accusations.
In his tell-all video series, Peker has accused former PM Binali Yildirim’s son Erkam Yildirim of being involved in drug smuggling in Venezuela as well as setting up a ‘cocaine route’ between the two countries.
Two years ago, the USA had announced that it was monitoring trade between Turkey and Venezuela and would take action if sanctions in Venezuela were violated. Erdogan’s response to this threat was to stand by the Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and express his support for him.
Peker alleges that Turkish Airlines flights were used to freight cocaine between the two countries.
Since the revelations, the videos have been viewed millions of times on Social-Media, shedding light on how the ’FETO’ label has been used against business people who were less eager to bribe some political figures.
Following the military coup attempt in 2016, the AKP stated that the religious G¨ulen movement, led by the cleric, Fethullah G¨ulen, himself living in exile in the USA, perpetrated the attempt and have since purged thousands of civil servants, military officers and academics on the grounds of them being members of the ‘FETO’ (Fetullahist terrorist organisation).
According to his claims, several Business people were threatened and forced to hand over assets to individuals related to the AKP, bribing them with accusations that they were linked to FETO if they failed to comply with the demands.
In the wake of his public statements, Peker has had to change location several times as he evades, what he claims are assassination attempts. He went on to state that he would have a break from releasing videos for a while following advice from the country hosting him advising him to stop sharing the videos on the grounds that the revelations of Turkish state corruption endanger him and call into question his own personal safety.
Peker has however promised his millions of viewers that when the conditions are right, he will continue to take aim at the AKP figures who he assures them are involved in criminal acts and corruption.
It is obvious that as voters at home are being more suspicious of the AKP government, the international community will pay more attention to the allegations of Turkey turning into a ‘criminal state.’